Niagara Gazette


May 5, 2014

Skateland closing appears imminent in Lockport

Niagara Gazette — With only two weeks remaining before the May 16 deadline to pay back taxes to the city, the owners of Skateland are looking at closing by May 19.

Through fundraisers and sales of old equipment, owners Brian and Lori Ferraro were able to raise an impressive $20,000, but it falls short of the $57,000 due before the redemption date.

The $20,000 raised will be paid to the city treasurer toward the taxes, Lori Ferraro said Thursday.

“We were able to raise $6,000 through selling our old Lasertag equipment, and the rest was from increased admission and the Zumbathon and Superhero Skate we held as fundraisers,” Ferraro said.

The Ferraros reached out to district alderman Ronald Franco, hoping to seek out a deal with the city to either house the Youth and Recreation Department in the skating complex or work together in some way to decrease the remainder due to the city. Franco presented the idea to the Lockport city board, but the option was not viable or legal, city attorney John Ottaviano said.

“They would have to be a 501c3 non-profit organization for us to enter an arrangement like this,” he said. “As a municipality, we’re not able to enter into an agreement with a for-profit business.”

Skateland is also not eligible to pay real property taxes in an installment plan since it is not a residence or an agricultural institution.

“It’s unfortunate that this situation is happening, Skateland has been a great institution in Lockport for years,” Ottaviano said.

The Ferraros purchased Skateland in the mid-1980s.

Ferraro said they plan on selling the property before it goes into foreclosure. They have found a potential buyer for the complex, who would completely strip the building for a roller hockey rink.

The estimated price of the complex will be about $205,000.

Short of being awarded a large grant or a donation, a close date around May 19 is expected for Skateland, Ferraro said.

“The people we’ve had visit Skateland, especially in the last month, have been absolutely amazing,” she said. “Everyone has been so generous with their time and talent, and we’re honored.”

Ferraro said she is deeply saddened on a personal level about the closing.

“We genuinely wanted to own and operate it forever.”

Contact reporter Kaley Lynch at 439-9222 ext. 6245 or tweet to @Lynchie17

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